A large number of infections with anal cancer-associated strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) among older gay men could be prevented with the use of HPV vaccines, new research shows.

Persistent infection with a high-risk strain of HPV can lead to anal cell changes that can lead to cancer. The rate of anal cancer is especially high among HIV-positive gay men at 100 cases per 100,000. The quadrivalent HPV vaccine (qHPV, Gardasil) provides a high degree of protection against infection with HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18; types 6 and 11 are associated with genital warts and types 16 and 18 with anal and genital cancers. The study found that there is a high prevalence and incidence of HPV strains covered by the quadrivalent HPV vaccine among older gay men, especially among men with HIV. Vaccination with either Gardasil or a similar vaccine would prevent HPV-related disease in gay men older than 35. Such a vaccination would need to be given before the first ever sexual contact (as is the case with girls that receive the HPV vaccine). This study does not look at the impact of the vaccine on already HPV-infected men.

The full article can be read here.